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FNB NWU Eagles team preview with coach Burger van der Westhuizen

FNB Varsity Cup

After losing out on a spot in the playoffs last year, the FNB NWU Eagles are eager to rise to the top of the 2023 FNB Varsity Cup competition. And coach Burger van der Westhuizen believes it starts with making the Eagles’ jersey “expensive” so that there can be competition for positions in the team.

“Every player has to know that there are two or three guys that can play the same position, so the players need to understand that they must play well on both sides of the field; in attack and on defence.”

The Eagles start their 2023 campaign on home soil with a tricky fixture against FNB UJ at the Fanie Du Toit Sports Ground. Van der Westhuizen says they are going with the mindset of winning.

“There’s no second place. We also want to play a brand of rugby that is part of the NWU DNA, to broaden what the previous NWU Eagles have always done and stick to what has been working for us.”

According to the Eagles’ coach experience will be vital in the 2023 tournament. “We still have the majority of our players and their experience is going to be huge as you need guys that have been there and done it before.”

Statistics from their previous Varsity Cup campaigns show the Eagles conceded more points in the second half in the majority of their games after having a good start.

However, matches are played on grass and not on a computer, says Van der Westhuizen.

“It’s important to be emotionally and physically prepared to play 80 minutes to the best of our ability, and game management will also be essential. There are other influences like the bounce of the ball, we have to be ready for anything.”

by Lesiba Dikhoba

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